On This Day

Albert Speer

Nazi Minister of Armaments and War Production Albert Speer

Full Name: Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer
Profession: Nazi Minister of Armaments and War Production

Nationality:
Germany
German

Why Famous: For most of World War II, Speer was the Nazi Minister of Armaments and War Production. Prior to this he was Adolf Hitler's chief architect; in this capacity he designed and constructed structures including the Reich Chancellery and the Zeppelinfeld stadium in Nuremberg where the mass rallies were held.

At the Nuremberg trials, Speer acted in contrition and became known as "the Nazi who said sorry". He accepted moral responsibility for Nazi crimes while claiming ignorance of the Holocaust. While historians doubt the level of his proclaimed ignorance, it nonetheless allowed him to escape the death penalty for the use of mass slave labor under his rule and for the displacement of Jews, particularly in Berlin, when his construction projects took place.

After his release from Spandau Prison, where he served 20-year sentence, he published two bestselling autobiographical works, Inside the Third Reich and Spandau: The Secret Diaries. He died of a stroke in 1981.

Born: March 19, 1905
Birthplace: Mannheim, Baden, Germany
Star Sign: Pisces

Died: September 1, 1981 (aged 76)
Cause of Death: Stroke

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Events in the Life of Albert Speer

  • 1942-02-08 Nazi architect Albert Speer appointed Minister of Armaments by Adolf Hitler after death of Fritz Todt in a plane crash
  • 1945-11-20 The Nuremberg war trials begin as 24 Nazi leaders are put on trial before judges representing the victorious Allied powers
  • 1946-09-30 22 Nazi leaders, including Joachim von Ribbentrop and Hermann Goering, are found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to death or prison at the Nuremberg war trials

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